Aim of the game
A version of the world’s most popular sport adapted for players with cerebral palsy, with two teams of seven players trying to put the ball in their opponent’s goal, while defending their own
Why should you watch this?
You will be blown away by the athleticism and skills of the players, and thrilled by the open, attacking play
When a player outwits his opponent by knocking the ball through his legs
Time added on to a match by the referee to compensate for time loss when the ball is not in play (also known as ‘stoppage time’)
Matches are fiercely contested and players do not hold back when it comes to leaving their feet and sliding into challenges
Impress your friends
The first international football 7-a-side competition took place in 1978 in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the third edition of the Cerebral Palsy International Games
The Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) was founded to manage the sport in 1978
The first world championship was held in 1982 in Denmark
While the Dutch football team of Cruyff and co thrilled the world during the 1970s, the Netherlands 7-a-side team’s won three Paralympic golds in a row: 1988, 1992 and 1996
Ukraine (two golds and two silvers) and Russia (two golds, one silver, one bronze) have medalled at the last four editions of the Paralympic Games
Because there is no offside rule, matches are open and exciting, with teams able to adopt a more direct attacking style
Great Britain striker Michael Barker played alongside Wayne Rooney at the Everton youth academy, but after a bus accident he became a star of 7-a-side football
Players are assigned roles compatible with their capabilities e.g. FT5 class players, who have limited kicking ability, are often goalkeepers
Matches consist of two halves of 30 minutes.
In the semi-final and final matches, if the scores are level after 60 minutes, two periods of 10 minutes of extra time will be played.
If nobody wins in extra time, the match is decided by a penalty shoot-out.
There are two main differences in the rules of Football 7-a-side compared with the traditional game:
- There is no offside
- Throw-ins may be taken by rolling the ball onto the pitch with one hand (players can also use the traditional two-handed method)